Open Educational Resources (OER)

About this Page

This resource page is for faculty interested in and currently using OER and zero textbook cost (ZTC) materials in their courses. Learn more about OER, training, resources, and funding opportunities here.

Funding Opportunities

Funding opportunities are expected to be available for adopting, creating, and updating OER in 2024-25. Previously-funded projects have used funding from the Legislature's historic investment in ZTC, known as the Zero Textbook Cost Degree Grant (ZTC) Program

Projects currently receiving funds from the ZTC Degree Program include,

  1. CIT EmPower ED AS
  2. CIT Cyber Security CA
  3. Spanish ADT
  4. Human Biology AS
  5. Library Technology AS
  6. Ealry Childhood Education AST

View the 2023-24 Award Program Call for Proposals. Please note, this award program is no longer active.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of using OER? 

OER are rooted in open education, the belief that high-quality education and information should be free of financial, legal, and technical barriers. Some benefits of OER include, 

  1. Students save money – OER, even when printed, significantly reduce textbook costs for students (achieving the dream . org).  
  2. Students learn more – Studies show that students who take courses using OER as the primary learning resource do just as well or better than students who take courses using traditional learning resources (opened group . org). 
  3. OER are customizable - Students learn more when the material they’re using is relevant and meaningful. OER give faculty the opportunity to customize their learning resources to the local environment. 
  4. Access is not dependent on a third-party platform or publisher - There are no limits on how long faculty or students can access OER. They can be easily stored, moved, or transferred. 

Adapted from SPARC, Open Education, and published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

What is the difference between OER and ZTC?

While both OER and ZTC materials lower costs for students, the primary difference between the two is the licensing that controls how you can use, adapt, and share the materials.

What are OER? 

"Open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is either, 

  1. in the public domain, or  
  1. licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities (retain, remix, revise, reuse, and redistribute). Typically, these permissions are designated by Creative Commons licenses

Adapted from Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources, written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

What are ZTC materials?  

Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) materials are anything that is free for students but not necessarily openly licensed. These include free web sources, such as YouTube videos and web articles without a paywall; library resources, such as eBooks, journal articles, LibGuides, videos on demand, and newspaper articles; and any content that you write yourself (unless you make it available under a CC license).

Free v. Open by Designers for Learning: Gain Experience for Good, Jennifer Maddrell, Director (CC, BY, NC, SA)


How do I indicate that I am using OER or ZTC in my classes?

If you are using OER or ZTC materials in your classes, you can indicate this using the My Bookstore App in Canvas. Follow the steps below to notify students that you are using OER/ZTC in your courses.

  1. Login to Canvas.
  2. Choose My Bookstore from the left side menu.
  3. Select the term.
  4. Select the "Only OER material is being used for this course" link for the course you are using OER/ZTC in.
  5. Your course will be designated ZTC (with the icon) in Self Service and appear in the Classes with Free Textbook list in WebAdvisor.

Where can I find OER?

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of OER repositories. We’ve included a few of the most prominent here. If you have questions about where to search for materials for a specific course or subject area, contact your OER liaison.

Where can I learn more about OER?

  • The ASCCC OERI regularly offers live webinars as well as an archive of webinar recordings. 
  • ISKME / OERCommons offers free training for educators, including webinars, self-paced activities and labs, and readings. 
  • Contact an OER Area Lead. Area Leads for the 2022-23 academic year:
    • Amanda Mason, Communication
    • David Yang, Math
    • Lydia Anderson, Business/Accounting
    • Sally Potter, English, EMLS
    • Seth Yates, Chemistry
    • Susan MacLeod, Biology
    • Susana Sosa, Art/Art History
  • Contact FCC’s OER liaison to the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Linda Kobashigawa, Library, or Sally Potter, EMLS/Linguistics,

Mythbusting Open Educational Resources

Read this short article from the ASCCC dispelling some common misconceptions about OER. 

Already using OER?

If you're already using OER, consider sharing your resources and experience with colleagues during Flex Day, Open Education Week (early March), and department or area meetings. 

Join the OER Committee

As a committee of the Academic Senate, the OER Committee seeks to remove academic barriers related to required course texts, materials, and supplies by increasing awareness, adoption, and professional development of OER and textbook affordability at FCC. Instructional divisions, the Library and Student Learning Support Services, and the Student Services divisions each hold representation on the committee. If you are interested in joining the committee, contact your Academic Senate representative or the OER Committee Chair, Linda Kobashigawa.

Become an OER Area Lead

OER Area Leads work to increase awareness and adoption of OER, Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC), and Low Textbook Cost (LTC) use among faculty in their discipline and division. Contact Sally Potter for more information.